Local Hero: Erin Parisi

On the tallest peaks there are no shadows.

For Erin Parisi, a transgender athlete from Denver, the lack of shadows is what draws her to the world’s highest peaks. “The trans community has long been marginalized. On the highest peaks there’s nothing that can cast a shadow on your life,” she says. Currently Parisi’s on a bid to become the first reported transgender climber to top out on all Seven Summits and has only Everest, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, and Denali to go before she does.

With support from REI and Merrell, Parisi is the executive director of TranSending (transending7.org), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting athletics as a platform of transgender awareness and inclusion.  She’s laser-focused on increasing the visibility of LGBTQ people in the outdoors, holding fundraisers, giving public talks, and coordinating partnerships with like-minded state and national organizations. 

While Parisi’s plans to climb Denali and Mt. Vinson have been delayed due to Covid-19, she continues to fundraise and train, often pulling a sled weighed down with jugs of water. “I’m leading by example to show that trans people have a place in the outdoors,” she says. “We will boldly proclaim, from the highest point on every continent, that we are proud, able, and will hide no longer.”

Photo courtesy Erin Parisi

Related Stories

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...

Zeal Optics Launches World’s First Sunglasses Made of Recycled Plastics and Grasses

PLASTIC BOTTLES + GRASS FIBER + BIO GAS = SUNGLASSES REIMAGINED. Boulder, Colorado’s Zeal Optics has long prided itself...

Arapahoe Basin’s New Aerial Adventure Park!

Story by Katherine Fuller, pictured above “Oh, good. I wanted to see how this was going to go.”

Ode to the Craftsmen

A silent skier squints into a rapidly intensifying storm, attempting to make out the remnants of a meandering skin track through the...

Escape the Heat in Estes Park

The crown jewel of the Colorado Rockies is the best place to find cool mountain adventure this summer. Here are a few...